What is a "treasure house" what is a "treasure house city"? especially in this case: "One by one, the other great Muslim treasure-house cities were annihilated " Muslim treasure-house city?


A treasure house, according to Merriam Webster is following: (I believe the second definition defines treasure house city and requires no further specification)

  1. a building where treasure is kept : treasury
  2. a place or source (as a collection) where many things of value can be found
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The quote, "One by one, the other great Muslim treasure-house cities were annihilated" comes from the British (BBC) 2012 television program titled, 'Andrew Marr's History of the World'. A bit more context from the script of the program:

Bukhara, like Merv, Baghdad, and Samarkand, was where the rich, optimistic heart of the Islamic world could be found. But Bukhara had never experienced anything like the Mongols. The combination of Chinese technology and Genghis Khan’s disciplined, fearsome army of nomad horsemen produced a new kind of army, a new kind of threat. The siege of Bukhara raged for 15 days, until the city was finally scorched into submission. When Genghis went into Bukhara, his army showed no mercy. And Genghis himself was honoured, as always, with the first pick of the captured women.

Bukhara was only the start. One by one, the other great Muslim treasure-house cities were annihilated. By 1223, Genghis Khan’s destruction of the Muslim empire in Central Asia was complete. Within 20 years, the Mongol empire stretched from Beijing in the East right through the land of the Rus’, into eastern Europe, almost to the gates of Vienna. Genghis Khan’s belief in strength through unity had resulted in the largest land empire in history.

See: http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=andrew-marrs-history-of-the-world-2012&episode=s01e04

Andrew Marr is, I suggest, simply suggesting that the Muslim cities were wealthy, and rich pickings for the Mongol armies. There was, again I'd suggest, no reason to consider some Muslim cities as 'treasure-house cities', and others as 'normal' cities. Marr's script quickly moves on from the subject of the conquest of the Muslim territories and enters into speculation about Genghis Khan's other legacy.

In his homeland today, the great warrior Emperor is revered as a national hero and immortalised by this 40m-high steel monument.

But it seems as if Genghis Khan, a man of many concubines and conquests, may have achieved immortality of a different kind. In 2003, scientists discovered a specific genetic marker in men in Europe and Asia, which originated a little less than 1,000 years ago, in an area suspiciously close to that of the Mongol Empire. And they concluded that probably 16 million men alive today really did spring from the loins of Genghis Khan.

So given the shallow treatment of the subject I think it is pretty clear that Marr was simply indulging in some poetic word imagery, which was essentially meaningless.

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